The most challenging part of making a change in your landscape is often the design. You've been thinking about removing more lawn and replacing it with natives, but where do you start? How do you put down on paper the fact that you want one Texas redbud tree, 3 mountain laurels, and a small bed of purple and yellow flowering native perennials? And what do you do about that section that you have absolutely no ideas for?
Well, help is here. The GrowGreen program, a collaborative project between the City of Austin Watershed Protection department and various other community agencies, including Extension, has developed a series of design templates to assist eager, but perhaps design-challenged, gardeners such as yourselves. Here's a little information on the new templates, from Kathy Shay, Water Quality Education Manager with Watershed Protection:
"The new templates are a guide for Austin area homeowners to help them choose a style and plant palette that requires less water and fewer chemicals. Not only are there scaled drawings of nine plant beds, but seven of the nine have demonstration gardens at popular spots around town including Zilker Botanical Garden, Howson Library, and City Hall. The sites provide Austinites a chance to see which plant combinations and styles best fit their needs and tastes. While some of the designs might look ambitious, it is easy to plant small areas as time and funding allow."
You can find the a link to the templates, as well as other helpful information on garden and landscape topics, at www.growgreen.org or find the templates directly at www.ci.austin.tx.us/growgreen/designs.htm